Jef returns to the blog with another great post! This time he recommends the HBO documentary series Paradies Lost.
I honestly never thought I would return with another post so soon but when I realized that must-see programming was soon to premiere I had to pass comment. That event is the airing of the third installment in the Paradise Lost documentaries.It is called Paradise Lost III: Purgatory and it premieres January 12th.
If you have been a HBO subscriber long enough than you are certainly familiar with the West Memphis Three since their story has been told on the channel. Filmmakers Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky started with Paradise Lost: The Child Murders of Robin Hood Hills (1996) and Paradise Lost 2: Revelations (2000). Of course, the West Memphis Three are three men who were tried and convicted as teenagers in 1994 of the 1993 murders of three boys in West Memphis, Arkansas.. Damien Echols was sentenced to death, Jessie Misskelley, Jr. was sentenced to life imprisonment plus two 20-year sentences, and Jason Baldwin was sentenced to life imprisonment. During the trial, the prosecution asserted that the children were killed as part of a satanic ritual. There have been supporters, including celebrities, who have held the belief that these three are innocent. It is believed that the town government and law enforcement needed to find someone to blame for the crimes that otherwise would have gone unsolved. The three teens were targeted and their lives were quickly out of control.
This last installment was originally set to debut on HBO in November 2011 and was to show viewers the West Memphis Three still in prison and generate publicity to their continued plea of innocence. That all changed on August 19th when the men were suddenly released from prison. The filmmakers scrambled to end this exciting coda to the story and delayed the premiere of the work for a few months. I believe the Toronto Film Festival aired the first version and the New York Festival was the first to air the revised and final cut. Now HBO airs the piece ending a great and powerful story
All this leads me to the thought that documentaries like this one, and its prequels, that air on HBO are gripping and exciting programs. HBO introduced me to the social documentary, often under the banner “America Undercover.” Do yourself a world of good and watch HBO documentaries. What they reveal, including the Paradise Lost trilogy, will often stun you or at least, give you pause.
Paradise Lost 3 returns to HBO Thursday, January 12th at 9PM.